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Car Culture

Times’ Readers Freak Out at So. Pasadena School Bus Sting

12:16 PM PDT on June 19, 2009

Last week, the South Pasadena Police Department held a traffic sting.  A group of squad cars laid in wait while cars whizzed past a school bus, with lights flashing and stop sign extended.  Once cars passed the bus, the police swooped in and handed out tickets like candy on Halloween to the over 160 cars that didn't stop for the well-marked school bus.

The reaction?  Outrage.  Drivers and commenters at the Times' LA Now Blog couldn't believe that someone would dare ticket people for violating the law, which is an especially troubling of car-culture entitlement because really?  Going past a school bus with its lights flashing is one of the deadliest ways to break a traffic law.

The favorite complaint of those ticketed was that the bus was parked on a high-traffic, six-lane Huntington Drive near Milan Avenue where it's insane to park a school bus.  South Pasadena police were able to promptly respond that actually, the location was chosen because it was near where a handicapped child boards the bus every school day.

Whoops.

While I wasn't present at the sting, this sounds like a good-faith effort to protect school children who use the bus by targeting motorists who don't come to a stop when they see the flashing lights on the bus and surrounding the flashing stop sign.  Apparently this kind of education is necessary based on the number of LA Now commenters that don't think breaking this law is a big deal.

For a quick sampling of some of the comments at LA Now, read on after the jump.  If you're interested in getting a full sampling, their story, with its exciting comment section, can be found here.

First, a little blame the victim:

Theticket operation pulled in 80K...how much did it cost for thisnonsense? Instead of issuing bogus tickets, how about the parents ofthat disabled child take him to a safe place to board the bus insteadof fining drivers who don't stop in the middle of traffic.

Some bizarre paranoia:

This is horrible!First the government takes our tax dollars to bail out the privately owned banks.The government needs more of our money so they sick the police on thegeneral public to basically rob off by setting up a fake school bus.This sounds too horrible to be true!I have a feeling this isn't the first stunt that will be taking place to get the rest of our savings from us.This is really scary and needs to be looked into!

And my personal favorite, that speeding past a bus with flashing lights isn't a "real crime":

Justanother reminder that the police are more interested in ticketingcitizens and "setting them up" than focusing on the realissues...crime.

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